Abby Cooper

Middle Grade Author

I know this isn’t a question, but hi!

Hey!

So, you’re basically about to have a conversation with yourself. Is that your dream come true?

Pretty much. I love talking to myself. And not to brag, but I’m really good at it, too. I’m currently saying these words out loud as I’m typing them and ALL the Starbucks people are staring.

Cool. So, let’s get going. You’ve written some books!

I have! I’ve wanted to be an author pretty much my whole life, so it’s a dream come true to get to do this for my job. You can learn more about my dream of becoming an author (and listen to a super embarrassing/hilarious story I wrote as a kid) here!

Wow, that is a DELIGHTFUL video. Have you made any others?

I sure have, self. You can find all kinds of fun things on my YouTube channel: book recommendations, writing tips, and answers to other frequently asked questions. Check it out here!

Sweet! So, let’s talk about your books. STICKS & STONES, your first published novel, came out in 2016. What’s it about?

The short version: STICKS & STONES is about a twelve-year-old girl who has a rare skin disorder where the names others call her show up on her arms and legs and stick like temporary tattoos.

The longer version: Ever since she was a baby, the words people use to describe Elyse have instantly appeared on her arms and legs. At first it was just "cute" and "adorable," but as she's gotten older and kids have gotten meaner, words like "loser" and "pathetic" appear, and those words bubble up and itch. And then there are words like "interesting," which she's not really sure how to feel about. Now, at age twelve, she's starting middle school, and just when her friends who used to accept and protect her are drifting away, she receives an anonymous note saying "I know who you are, and I know what you're dealing with. I want to help." As Elyse works to solve the mystery of who is sending her these notes, she also finds new ways to accept who she is and to become her best self.

Whoa! What inspired you to write that?

The short version: Real life observations (noticing the ways we treat ourselves and others) + asking “what if” questions (what if the words we called ourselves and others actually showed up on our bodies?) + being inspired by other books. (Thanks, Wonder!)

The longer version: Check out this video for more info!

You mentioned real life observations, what if questions, and being inspired by other books. Those sound like some super cool ways to come up with ideas!

Thanks! I’m inspired by those things constantly - they truly provide an endless amount of material. If you’re ever struggling to come up with an idea, look around. Notice things. Ask questions. Be curious. Stories will start pouring out of you before you know it!

Riiiight. Except what if they don’t? Do you ever get writer’s block?

Yup. I get stuck ALL THE TIME! It happens to everyone. Seriously! That’s why I like to have two projects going at once. I might be stuck on one story, but at the same time I have TONS of ideas for another. Being blocked on one thing doesn’t mean you can’t write at all - you might just need a break from that one thing. What usually happens to me is that the second I start ignoring one project, I get all kinds of ideas for it. Go figure!

Okay, let’s switch gears and talk about BUBBLES. What’s that book about?

I’m so glad you asked, self!

The short version: Twelve-year-old Sophie starts seeing thought bubbles over people’s heads that say what she thinks they’re really thinking.

The longer version: Twelve-year-old Sophie Mulvaney's world has been turned upside down. Mom lost her job at the TV station and broke up with Pratik, whom Sophie adored. Her teacher is making them do a special project about risk-taking, so Sophie gets roped into doing a triathlon. And to top it all off, she's started seeing bubbles above people's heads that tell her what these people are thinking. Seeing other people's thoughts seems like it should be cool, but it's actually just stressful. What does it mean that Pratik wishes she and Mom were with him to eat dinner? Is her best friend Kaya really going out with their other best friend, Rafael, whom Sophie also has a crush on? And can Sophie's mom ever go back to her old self? In this funny, heartwarming novel from Abby Cooper, BUBBLES shows readers that people are more than what they seem―or what they think.

Nice! Where’d the inspiration for that one come from?

The short version: Real life + what if = ALL THE IDEAS!

The longer version: Watch this video for the details!

It kind of seems like all your books involve a magical thing happening to a regular person.

You’re so observant, self! My books are technically considered part of the “magical realism” genre. This means that everything is realistic except for one “magical” element (aka, something you wouldn’t normally see in our regular world.)

Why do you like writing magical realism?

Honestly? It’s fun! I love wondering what would happen if certain things could really happen. That’s one of the best things about writing, in my opinion - you can make anything possible.

Is FRIEND OR FICTION magical realism too?

Sure is!

The short version: Twelve-year-old Jade loves to write, and one day one of her made-up characters comes to life, moves in across the street, and shows up at her school.

The longer version: Jade's life hasn't exactly been normal lately, especially since her dad's cancer diagnosis. Jade wishes her family could leave their no-name town in Colorado already--everybody else does sooner rather than later, including every best friend Jade's ever had. So she makes one up. In the pages of her notebook, she writes all about Zoe--the most amazing best friend anyone could dream of. But when pretend Zoe appears in real life thanks to a magical experiment gone right, Jade isn't so sure if she likes sharing her imaginary friend with the real world. To keep her best friend (and even make some new ones), Jade learns how to cope with jealousy, that friends should let friends be true to themselves, and that maybe the perfect best friend doesn't exist after all.

That sounds awesome! But why can’t I find that book at my local library or bookstore?

FRIEND OR FICTION won’t be out until October 8, 2019. If you want to make sure you get a copy that day, you can pre-order it here, here, or here. You can also go to your public library’s website and request that they order it.

I have to say, I think you’d be fun to spend time with. Can you come to my school?

Aw, thanks. Back atcha. And absolutely! I love visiting schools. In fact, I offer a variety of presentations, programs, and writing workshops. While I primarily visit schools where I live (Minnesota), I am happy to travel. Ask your teacher or librarian to contact me and we’ll see if we can make it happen! If I can’t come to your school in person, I also offer free 20 minute Skype sessions.

Are you on social media?

Sure am! You can find me on Facebook and YouTube at AbbyCooperAuthor, and Twitter and Instagram @_ACoops_.

What if I want to write to you?

Then you should do that! I love getting e-mail and I respond to everything I receive. You can get in touch with me here.